Successful start to the season for HRT: the #4 Haupt Racing Team Bilstein car finished third at the 24H Dubai to present the team from Meuspath with its first podium at a 24-hour race. Haupt Racing Team Abu Dhabi Racing (#5) also impressed in HRT’s debut at Dubai Autodrome, finishing fifth overall and taking the class win in the GT3-AM category.
- Successful start to the season for the Haupt Racing Team in Dubai with the #4 and #5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars
- 3rd place for #4 HRT Bilstein
- 5th place and class victory for #5 HRT Abu Dhabi Racing
The #5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the Haupt Racing Team Abu Dhabi Racing took advantage of perfect conditions to qualify sixth, followed by Haupt Racing Team Bilstein (#4) in seventh place. When the race got underway on Friday, Maro Engel immediately made up two positions at the start, before establishing himself in the top five. As the endurance event progressed, HRT Bilstein – with drivers Engel, Ryan Ratcliffe, Patrick Assenheimer, and three-time Dubai winners Hubert Haupt and Khaled Al Qubaisi – strengthened their position in the leading group and actually led the race for a number of laps during last year’s winner Haupt’s first stint. The night action at the desert circuit was characterised by several Code 60 phases, different race strategies and exciting battles for position. Through it all, the #4 was a permanent fixture in the top three. After 599 laps of racing, Engel eventually crossed the finish line in third place.
The #5 HRT Abu Dhabi Racing car, in which double-starters Assenheimer and Al Qubaisi shared the driving duties with Nico Bastian, Valentin Pierburg and Florian Scholze, was struck by misfortune early on in the race: Assenheimer was embroiled in a thrilling battle for sixth place at the start, before the car came to a standstill with an empty fuel tank and plummeted down the standings. However, Bastian then launched an impressive fightback and – like his team-mates – regained position after position as the race progressed. Even before nightfall, the quintet had fought its way back into the top ten, and soon took the lead in the GT3-AM class. The fightback continued into the night, as the team established itself in the top five. After 24 hours, the #5 came home in fifth place overall, and rounded off a successful weekend with victory in the GT3-AM class.
Hubert Haupt, team owner HRT and driver #4
“We lined up here in Dubai with two cars in great condition, and were up there in the leading group with both cars. Our number five car produced a great performance and claimed a commanding class victory. We would have liked to have won the race with the #4, but a podium to start the season is obviously still a good result. I’d like to say a big thank you to the whole team for a successful race weekend!”
Sean Paul Breslin, team principal HRT
“It was a tough race, but absolutely everyone in the team worked hard to make that result possible. I am really pleased that the #5 car’s fightback was ultimately rewarded with the class victory. Third place overall for the #4 shows what potential we have. On the whole, we are happy with the performance this weekend. A good start to the 2021 motorsport year!”
Maro Engel, driver #4
“Second place was within touching distance right until the end of the race. In the end, we came up just short, so it is third place for us. It was not an easy race, especially with so many cars on the track. A big thank you goes to the team and my colleagues in the cockpit, and congratulations to the winners.”
Nico Bastian, driver #5
“After the initial difficulties, that was a phenomenal effort. The whole team did a flawless job and we used the Code 60 phases cleverly. I am really proud of my team-mates Valentin, Florian, Khaled and Patrick, who did a great job and were consistently quick. It was great fun!”
Patrick Assenheimer, driver #4 and #5
“The car, the team effort – everything came together today. We soon made up for the initial difficulties with the #5, and everyone contributed to the fightback. Winning the GT3-AM class is obviously fantastic and just reward for our effort. It is a shame that we missed out on overall victory with the #4.”
Khaled Al Qubaisi, driver #4 and #5
“The whole race weekend was absolutely action-packed and we really had to push ourselves to the limit. Driving both cars was tiring, but a great challenge. Third place overall and victory in the GT3-AM class are top results – I could hardly have wished for more.”